Change the World

Our blog about working together to help people with vulnerabilities live rewarding lives.

Why Personal Outcome Measures® Matter

Why POMs ® Matters

The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) is the measurement and improvement of personal quality of life for people receiving human services and supports. One of the differences of CQL is the use of Personal Outcomes Measures (POMS®) – which is the foundation of our work. We have now completed hundreds of POMs® interviews, using them as a critical tool for delivering quality services, as defined by the people we support.

Sean Switzer, our IDD Director, was not surprised that an individual for whom ACCESS: Supports for Living, has provided 20 years of on-going services stated that her ultimate goal was to live alone. What did surprise him was how wrong that was. How could that be wrong….let’s see how POMs® helped Sean and our IDD staff truly understand.

He was speaking to a woman who has received a variety of services from our organization; supported employment, clinical, and living in a supported housing setting with 4 roommates. We have known her for so long it seemed obvious during the My World section of the interview (one of 3 key factors which includes where an individual lives, socializes, belongs, and connects) that she would tell us she wants to live alone. Doing a POMs® interview with her didn’t seem necessary, we knew what she wanted- after all we’ve known her most of her life. We often feel that after working with someone for so long we understand what their dreams and desires are. The POMs® interview tool allows us to start on a clean slate and eliminate all the things we think we know. We don’t always engage in the level of detailed discussion we might think we do- the POMs® process allows us to dig deeper, as it consists of 21 items that define quality from the individual’s perspective.

Through a conversation guided by the POMs® process Sean was able to uncover that actually this individual did not want to live alone, what she wanted was choice. Having lived for 20+ years in an IRA setting she has never had much choice in her roommates and assumed her best alternative was to live alone. By having a deeper conversation Sean was able to understand that what this individual really wanted was to live in an apartment with a roommate of her choosing. So they started a search, which lead to many new relationships and interactions. After meeting many new people, one individual in particular was the person she decided to ask to be her roommate. They worked on cooking and cleaning skills together and were able to move into their apartment as new friends.
Traditional systems operate where a person is assigned to a program, POMs® ensures the services and supports are designed for the person based on what that individual has said matters most to them. The POMs® process allowed this woman realize she has a right, and how to exercise her rights. This woman is now a strong advocate for herself and for her right to choose her life and define what is important to her on her own terms.

For a more information on POMs® click here:

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